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Harpoon 3 After-Action Reports

 

World War Three in 1985 - Fighting Withdrawal

by Michael Sprague

Overall I found this to be a very challenging and well designed scenario. The goal is to get the CV America out of the Norweigen Sea before it can get sunk by the Soviets in the opening minutes of WWIII. You have to deal with several different attacks during the six hour mission. The America has to survive for six hours to win the mission. Bonus points are alloted for sinking Soviet amphibious craft and Ro/Ro vessels heading towards Bodo.

I started off by setting up F-14 patrols N and NNW of the carrier group and F-16 patrols near Bodo. Almost immediately a ton of aircraft are detected coming in from the East. My initial assumption is that these are a force to attack the carrier group, but I am soon mistaken when bogies are detected coming out of the North in a nice pretty line. I start marking all units as hostile so my guys will have something to shoot at w/ the long range missiles.

Shortly after the Backfire attack is detected vampires are detected on the same heading and some more from due West!! Turns out these are Sandbox and Sirens. Probably sub launched. I managed to shoot down some but they are all targeted on the Nassau. I get the impression that the scenario author is trying to scare you. So he targets the Nassua to have it sunk to show you what the Soviets can do. :)

Meanwhile my F-14s are scrambling towards the bombers. I managed to shoot down a bunch (14) but there are too many bombers and not enough F-14s and missiles. Important note. You don't get to use the full allotment of aircraft on the America since their ready times are about 18 hours and this is a 6 hour mission.

The bombers let loose with the Kitchen ASMs. Boy there are a lot! My AAW ships manage to shoot down several but I still lost the CG Biddle and a DDG. I shifted my forces around a bit to fill in the new holes in the AAW screen. This is only 20 minutes into the mission.

Meanwhile in Norway the bases were getting hammered and the F-16s getting shot down like flys. It hard to fight advanced Soviet fighters with medium range missles when all you have is a few Sidewinders. I was left with only a handful of F-16s (8) in the southern most base. I had also lost two USN Skywarriors that I sent in to recon the Soviet Bodo fleet. There are a lot of ships there and I need to find the ones I can target for the victory conditions.

About two hours into the mission my Intruders, Corsairs and Prowlers are ready to launch. I launch all available aircraft and head toward the Bodo fleet. I still don't know what is what so I send an F-14 in to recon figuring its got better visual gear. It identifies a few ships but no targets before it gets shot down. Then I send in an Intruder. It finds a few more, but no targets and then gets shot down. Finally I send in another F-14 at high speed and it finds my targets and avoids all SAMs.

I target three Ro/Ro ships and the Sverdlov Mod. I end up sinking two of the Ro/Ros and the Sverdlov. All planes head home to refuel and rearm.

Now I'm just waiting to see what happens next. About 20 minutes before the mission is suppose to end another land based attack comes in to attack the remaining bases. A few MiG-25s come in to mess with my Tomcats and I lose a few more. I was suprised how easily the MiG-25s handled the Tomcats. I also shot down a Bear trying to sneak in from the west for a closer look at my fleet.

My remaining F-16s get shot down taking out more Soviets. Shortly after that the mission ends with a victory. Again, a fast, well thought out scenario that kept my quite suprised. Thanks!!

A shortened list of losses:

NATO:
29 x Falcon
8 x Radar Site (AN/FPS-110)
1 x Nassau
9 x Tomcat
1 x Farragut
1 x Biddle
1 x Hawkeye
2 x Skywarrior
1 x Sentry
2 x Sea King

Soviets: 4 x Helix A
14 x Backfire B
10 x Foxbat E
18 x Flogger G
4 x Bear D
4 x Fitter H
1 x Fencer C
1 x Fencer B
6 x Cub A
2 x Ro/Ro
1 x Sverdlov Mod